Effect of Porous Media Topology on Foamed Gel Performance as Demonstrated by Flow Visualization Studies

Romero-Zeron, L. and Kantzas, A.

DOI: 10.2118/2003-127
Accepted, 54th Annual Technical Meeting of the Petroleum Society held in Calgary, June 10-12, 2003.


The use of foamed gels as blocking agents is an alternative method to reduce excessive gas or water inflow during oil production. Field trials have demonstrated that foamed gel is a very cost effective technology. However, the mechanisms of foam gel flow and blockage in porous media are not yet well recognized. In this work, a pore level approach has been taken to investigate the complex flow of foamed gels in porous media, through visual observations in transparent etched-glass micromodels. This paper presents experimental observations on foamed gel propagation in heterogeneous pore models. This work also evaluates the effect of foamed gel on gas and water mobility, the mechanisms of gas and liquid flow through a foamed gel network previously placed in the porous media, the effect of pore structure and foam texture on blockage effectiveness. The experimental observations reveal that foamed gels provide a higher flow restriction capability than conventional aqueous foams. Direct observations of foamed gel propagation at the pore level indicated that foamed bubbles are broken and reshaped within the porous media. Foamed gel blockage effectiveness increases with porous media permeability and conductivity. Finally, experimental results demonstrated that foam texture has an unquestionable influence on foamed gel blockage effectiveness.

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